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California: Legislation Would Create Green Light Cameras

April 21, 2010

California: Legislation Would Create Green Light Cameras
California lawmaker seeks to use cameras to ticket San Francisco drivers making prohibited right-hand turns on green. 

Tom Ammiano  photo by Steve Rhodes/FlickrRed light cameras in the state of California originally were first used to issue tickets to the owners of vehicles that entered an intersection after the light had turned red. In just the past few years, the cameras have shifted targets and now primarily ticket the owners of vehicles that make rolling right-hand turns on a red light. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) wants to further transform the system by introducing green light cameras. The new system, which initially would only operate at a single intersection in Ammiano’s district, would target people who turn right while the light is green.

“The city and county of San Francisco may utilize an automated traffic enforcement system to enforce a violation of subdivision (d) of Section 22101, from Market Street onto the Central Freeway located at the intersection of Market Street and Octavia Boulevard,” Assembly Bill 2729 states.

Ammiano introduced the bill at the request of bicycle activists who succeeded in prohibiting right-hand turns at the intersection in question. Existing law does not allow the use of automated machines to issue tickets to cars making turns while the light is green. As no green light camera has ever been used in the US, there is no evidence that such a device would have any positive impact on safety. Some groups have questioned the need for the new devices.

“The auto clubs have expressed a concern with the significant expansion of automated enforcement represented by this bill,” the official legislative analysis of AB2729 explained. “They cite a history of abuse surrounding the use of automated enforcement and a growing objection by the public for this form of enforcement. Consequently, they suggest that engineering solutions be used on an expedited basis to remedy what they acknowledge to be a significant safety problem, rather than expanding the use of automated enforcement. There has traditionally been a high degree of discomfort among legislators as well as the public at large with automated traffic enforcement technology in general.”

An attempt at the beginning of the year by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to implement a statewide speed camera program to help balance the budget met with silence in the Democrat-controlled assembly. An Assembly Transportation Committee hearing scheduled for Monday on Ammiano’s bill was postponed.

A copy of the legislation is available in a 150k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Assembly Bill 2729 (California State Assembly, 4/21/2010)

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